Prosecutor General wants to charge Finns Party MP with ethnic incitement

Juha Mäenpää likened asylum seekers to an 'invasive species' during a debate in Parliament in June 2019.

File picture inside parliament, December 2019 / Credit: News Now Finland

Prosecutor General Raija Toiviainen wants to charge a Finns Party MP with inciting hatred towards an ethnic group.

During a June 2019 debate in Parliament, Juha Mäenpää said that asylum seekers were like an ‘invasive species’. Mäenpää has claimed this was a spontaneous remark and doesn’t rise to the level of criminal hate speech.

After a preliminary investigation, police found that there were sufficient grounds to press charges but referred the matter to the Prosecutor General.

Under parliamentary rules, there would need to be approval from five-sixths of MPs in agreement with the move. Finland’s Parliament has never previously handed down an indictment against one of its own members.

Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho, who has previously been convicted of inciting racial hatred against an ethnic group, has already indicated his party will try to block any attempts to press formal charges against their colleague Mäenpää.

It’s likely that MPs will be faced with having to vote on Mäenpää’s fate when Parliament resumes its session in February.